Introducing The Latest In Dental Controversy: Mini Dental Implants (video)

mini dental implantsMini dental implants newer than traditional implants and they’re more controversial too, with 24% of dentists reporting that they never recommend mini dental implants for their dental patients.

Some doctors love mini implants, while others think they are an inherently inferior product.

Watch this dental survey video below for more on mini dental implants and how doctors feel about them –

Taxpayers Footing the Bill for Braces in Texas

the house that braces built WFAA-TVThe business of charging taxpayers for putting braces on kids’ teeth has exploded in Texas over the last three years according to a story by WFAA-TV in Dallas.

In 2010, Texas spent $184 million on Medicaid orthodonticsmore than the rest of the United States combined.

I want you to understand, right up front, that I’m tremendous proponent of just about any program that put dollars in dentist’s pocket for providing quality dental care. Time to be honest, this level of government pork could only have been arranged in a smoked filled back room in the dead of night.

While Texas struggles with its Medicaid budget, 34 dental organizations collected more than $1 million in Medicaid orthodontics last year.

Orthodontic treatment for children is generally an elective cosmetic procedure that many parents spend thousands of dollars on for their children. Very few dental insurance carriers cover orthodontics or elective procedures such as teeth whitening.

But in Texas, Medicaid pays dentists for orthodontics per procedure, instead of a lump sum for the “finished mouth” of straight teeth, according to WFAA-TV. This has made Medicaid orthodontia a lucrative dental business in Texas.

So much so that just three years ago, dentist Richard Malouf’s All Smiles Dental Centers of Texas collected $5.4 million from Medicaid orthodontics. Since that time, All Smiles’ Medicaid orthodontics billings nearly doubled to $10.2 million. This caught the interest of Chicago-based hedge fund Equity Partners who recently acquired All Smiles Dental for an undisclosed sum.

Now Texas dental clinics are being bought up by hedge funds, making Wall Street the ultimate destination for millions of taxpayer dollars as reported by WFAA.

The following is a video of WFAA’s investigative report –

Nowhere is the lucrative business of Medicaid braces more evident than with dentist Richard Malouf’s mansion in Dallas. It is a massive French chateau with a pool house, big enough for the average American family of four to live in. The Maloufs also own the mansion next door. According to tax records the combined value of the two properties is more than $14 million.

It is known as the house that braces built.

Dr. Malouf isn’t alone in offering Medicaid braces; there are five other dentists’ offices that provide Medicaid orthodontia on the same half-mile street in Dallas. Many of them advertise free braces under Medicaid. Jefferson Dental is one such dental operation and, according to WFAA, it is owned by hedge fund Black Canyon Capital of California.

During a struggling economy, many question whether this is the best use of taxpayer dollars. A Medicaid dollar that is spent on braces is a Medicaid dollar not being spent on fighting cavities and procedures most dentists feel are necessary.

It will be interesting to see how this story unfolds. I really want to see the which legislators initiated and signed off on this this piece of legislation and who the lobbyist where who pushed it through.

I not sure other state dental boards should hire them or hang them?

For more on this story see: Tax Money for Unneeded Braces Goes to Hedge Funds

Implant Dentistry Advertising Is Held Hostage by Texas Regulations

Implant Dentistry Advertising Is Held Hostage by Texas RegulationsDental implants are fast becoming the choice dental tool for the replacement of a missing tooth or teeth.

And the growing global demand for better oral aesthetics has driven an increase in the number of dentists performing dental implant surgeries.

But quietly, behind the scenes, states have been attempting to regulate how dentists can advertise their dental implant dentistry credentials.

Last week, the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Austin, Texas seeking to invalidate a Texas regulation that severely restricts dentists from advertising their AAID credentials in implant dentistry, according to prnewswire.

In 2009 and 2010, AAID won judicial verdicts overturning similar rules enforced by state dental boards in Florida and California.

AAID’s chief legal counsel, Frank Recker, JD, DDS, informed the Texas Board of Dental Examiners in writing about the unequivocal judicial precedents and hoped to convince the Board to rescind its restrictions and avoid litigation. “The Board did not respond to our communications for two years. Since AAID’s credentialed members continue to be in jeopardy if they advertise their credentials, the Academy decided to pursue legal action,” said Recker.

Two Texas dentists holding AAID’s dental implant credentials, Dr. Jay Elliott of Houston and Dr. Monty Buck of Galveston, joined the lawsuit as individual co-plaintiffs.

AAID is seeking a permanent injunction and declaratory judgment to strike down the Texas regulation, which allows unrestricted advertising only for dental credentials and accreditations issued by organizations recognized as dental specialties by the American Dental Association (ADA). Dentists with bona fide credentials not issued by ADA-recognized specialty organizations are required to include lengthy disclaimers in their advertising in Texas.

This limitation, contends AAID, is burdensome and prohibits dentists from advertising true statements about credentials in implant dentistry earned from AAID and American Board of Oral Implantology (ABOI).

In Florida and California, the presiding judges ruled that such advertising restrictions violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which protect freedom of speech and equal protection of the laws. Recker said the legal precedents solidly favor AAID and Drs. Elliott and Buck. Go get ’em guys!

“Consumers in Texas have no ready means of learning which dentists practicing in their state have significant substantive training in implant dentistry,” said Recker. “Awareness of AAID’s dental implant credential provides consumers with objectively verifiable information regarding a dentist’s knowledge, proficiency and experience. The Texas advertising restriction prevents highly qualified implant dentists from differentiating their training and education.”

Recker added that, in Texas, dentists with no training in placing implants are permitted to engage in implant dentistry and advertise that they perform this service. This makes it almost impossible for consumers to objectively evaluate a dentist’s qualifications to perform implant procedures.

Let’s be honest here folks, the average consumer can’t evaluate a politician, let alone a dentist.

In the 2009 Florida decision, Circuit Court Judge Frank E. Sheffield ruled that a state law restricting how dentists can advertise credentials issued by bona fide professional organizations is unconstitutional. The Florida statute prevented advertising of membership in or credentials earned from any dental organization not recognized by the Florida Board of Dentistry (FDB). Florida’s dental board only recognized specialty credentials issued by the ADA.

Dentists who wanted to advertise their AAID credentials had to include an onerous disclaimer that implant dentistry is not a recognized specialty of ADA or the FDB and that AAID is not a recognized specialty accrediting organization.

The Court decided the advertising restrictions were unconstitutional on many grounds. They violated the Florida constitution’s guarantee of the right to be rewarded for industry or professional achievement and First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of free speech and equal protection of the law.

In a clear and unequivocal verdict issued in 2010, Judge John Mendez, writing for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, ruled that credentials issued to dentists by AAID are bona fide and legitimate, and state laws that prohibit or restrict advertising them to the public are unconstitutional.

He struck down a state law that effectively prevented dentists from advertising credentials issued by AAID and said that AAID and the American Board of Oral Implantology (ABOI) “are bona fide credentialing organizations whose standards are rigorous, objectively clear, and verifiable.”

The Texas Board for Dental Examiners has not responded publicly yet to the AAID’s legal action.

What are your thoughts on dentists advertising their AAID credentials in implant dentistry?

Source: American Academy of Implant Dentistry

Menopausal Patients Linked to Increased Risk for Gum Disease

menopause and gum diseeaseCase Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic say that menopausal women may need to see the dentist as many as four times a year to control dental plaque.

Leena Palomo, an assistant professor of periodontics, and Maria Clarinda Beunocamino-Francisco from the Center for Specialized Women’s Health at the clinic completed a comparison study of women on and off bone-strengthening bisphosphonate therapies for osteoporosis.

In the women they studied, they found a marked increase in dental plaque levels, which could endanger the jawbones of postmenopausal women. (Dental plaque is a biofilm that develops naturally on our teeth. If the plaque is left on teeth too long, it triggers gum disease.)

“Menopausal women at risk for osteoporosis also are at risk for periodontal disease, which affects bone that anchors teeth,” says Palomo. “To keep jawbones strong and healthy,” she added, “means getting rid of the dental plaque by seeing the dentist as many as four times a year for deep periodontal cleanings.”

Do you find that your menopausal patients have more problems with dental plaque than their younger counterparts? What do you recommend to your female patients over 50?

For more on this subject, visit Science Daily.

Dentists Say Electric Toothbrush No Better Than Manual Toothbrush

No Better Than Manual Toothbrush

Is the electric toothbrush all hype?

The NZ Herald surveyed a group of independent dentists and found that many dentists are uncomfortable with their profession’s relationship with some dental products and their marketing companies.

One product endorsement that seemed to bother the dentists the most is in the area of electronic toothbrushes.

According to the Herald, dentists were split 50-50 about whether an electric toothbrush gave a better clean. The dentists who support manual toothbrushes felt that brushing is about how well someone brushes — not the toothpaste or toothbrush used.

In other words, any type of toothbrush is only as good as the person who is using it.  Overall, many dentists felt there wasn’t a bigger advantage to using one type of toothbrush over another.

So why endorse the more expensive electric toothbrush?

Some dentists feel product endorsements arise from the close relationships between dental associations and dental product manufacturers.  In the Herald survey, several dentists broke ranks with the professional associations – one of which receives sponsorship from Oral-B – to speak out and say that the clean provided by an electric toothbrush is no better than a manual toothbrush.

Both the New Zealand Dental Association and the New Zealand Dental Therapists Association declined to comment on the survey.

What do you say?  What type of toothbrush do you advise your patients to use?

For more on this story read: Electric brush: tooth or fiction

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